2014年12月6日托福独立写作题目：Do you agree or disagree with the statement: The best way for a teacher to help students interested in a subject is to explain that subject will help them outside school.
When teaching students, many educators feel bewildered how to trigger children’s interest. Some think that if teachers can relate the subject with things happening outside school, students may be more interested in the course. While from my perspective, this approach is not as helpful in cultivating children’s interest as people usually think.
First of all, we all know that interest in a subject is usually influenced by many factors. For subjects with direct, practical applications outside of school, this extracurricular significance may be a huge factor in determining a student's interest in it. In these cases, it would be suitable to teach them about the subject's significance outside of school. For subjects that don't have many practical applications, however, this may not be the case. Take a subject like art for example, teaching students about its significance outside of school may actually have the opposite effect as art has very little practical utility. For those not already inspired by art classes, learning about art's extracurricular significance is probably not going to be the best way to get them excited about it.
The same could applies to philosophy. Philosophy, at least in the Western tradition, used to have practical applications. That was several hundred years ago, back when science still comprised a branch of philosophy. Nowadays, people will reflexively cringe when they hear you have a philosophy degree. Philosophy is almost by definition an airy pursuit - its name comes from the term "philosophia", Greek for "the love of wisdom". Loving wisdom is not an employable skill-set, and in my opinion, teaching students about this lack of practical utility will do little to sway the unconverted. Why should they get excited about a subject with no obvious use?
Aside from the negligible effect of relating subjects with daily life, it is also a great shame if teachers can only make students feel the beauty of those subjects by their practicality. The best way to get students interested in these subjects, however, is not to talk about their grander significance outside of school, but to make them more immediate and personal. Studying Buddhist philosophy helped me to detach myself from a life focused on material gain. Experiencing Mark Rothko's massive color-field paintings gave me personal insight during a difficult period of depression. These are two ways in which more personal encounters can deepen a person's interest in them, and it's far more impactful and longer-lasting than.
Although sometimes examples outside school can assist teachers in imparting knowledge to students, it is still not appropriate to say that it is the best way to arouse students’ interest. Teaching them about a subject's extracurricular significance is important, but under most circumstances, teachers need to do more.
I do not agree with the statement that it’s the best way for teachers to help students become more interested in a subject by explaining how this subject can help students live better outside of the school. Instead, I think it is best to engage students by givingpractical demonstrationsthat make the students want to learn more.
I do agree that students willbe more inclined tobecome interested in a subject if they know that it is helpful outside of school. For example, I had no interest in geometry until I tried making my first quilt, Then I realized how practical geometry was for calculating measurements of the blocks and the amount of fabric that I needed to buy. Once I learned how useful the subject could be, I was much more involved inmath class at school. However, I do not think that just telling a student that a subject is helpful will work. In my case, I would not have been interested at all in geometry if the teacher only said that I could use it for quilting. Instead, I needed to solve a real problem in my own life.
In fact, just telling a student something may be very counterproductive because it may sound like the teacher is preaching. Students could become less interested if they think that the teacher is patronizing them. Even a very good speaker is not as persuasive as someone who uses multiple means of communication.Therefore, I think it is better to engage students by giving effective demonstrations of how the subject applies to life outside of the classroom.For example, a biology teacher could have the students bake bread to learn about the properties of yeast. Baking bread is much more interesting than listening to a teacher drone onabout how colonies get larger in size andgive offgasses.
Another way to get students engaged is to give a problem that can only be solved using information related to the subject. The students cannot just sit backand passively listen; they must try to find a solution. In finding the solution, they can see how the skill works, and they will remember it better. In addition, they may become motivated to learn more so that they can solve other, related problems. By applying the subject, the students learn the value ofthe subject and will want to learn more about it because they think it is worthwhile.
Therefore, I think it is best for a teacher to give practical demonstrations or have students solve problems related to the subject. Doing so helps students see how the subject relates to the world outside the classroom and is much more effective than just telling students that a skill is worthwhile.